“I’m not a defender of Qatari situation,” says Hadid of workers issue

Zaha Hadid has spoken out about her role in the design of the Al Wakrah stadium, a centrepiece of Qatar’s 2022 World Cup preparations.

In an interview with The Times, Dame Zaha Hadid said that the Qataris “should do something” about the issue of migrant workers.

The Gulf state has been in the media spotlight over the conditions of labourers working on its construction sites.

Hadid had previously walked out of an interview with the BBC, which had claimed that more than 1,200 workers had been killed while working on the Al Wakrah stadium. The claim was false, and the BBC later apologised.

“I’ve always been defending the stadia in Qatar and I think they [the Qataris] should now do something [themselves],” Hadid told the newspaper. “This comes up all the time. I’ve done my bit.”

“I’m not a defender of the Qatari situation, but it’s important to get the facts right and then we can discuss it. I’m very happy that the press make the government aware of problems on certain sites. But it doesn’t apply to this site.”

In December, the secretary general of Qatar’s World Cup committee said that the country had announced labour reforms, although he admitted they “may not be coming quick enough for some people”.

 “There will inevitably be a lot of noise surrounding the way those changes are implemented, but Qatar is committed to progressing,” said Hassan Al Thawadi.

He also pointed out that there had been no fatalities on any of the World Cup construction sites.

“Our Workers’ Welfare Standards ensure the highest level of health and safety on all of our stadiums. The welfare of our workers is of paramount importance and we simply do not compromise our high standards. I just wish the same could be said of some of the media outlets who report these false claims,” he said.